Lawmakers harsh on Ford for cooperation with Chinese firms


Ford is currently under scrutiny by some U.S. lawmakers. They want the government to look into four Chinese companies that are helping Ford set up a new battery factory in Michigan.

Mike Gallagher and Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who are in charge of two important House committees, have raised concerns about the involvement of these companies in the construction and technological operations of the plant.

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Ford denies lawmakers’ claims

Ford has said that it always plays by the rules and expects its suppliers to do the same. The company also emphasizes its commitment to human rights and insists its suppliers maintain these standards as well.

Reuters reported that the names of the four Chinese companies are kept secret because the information comes from confidential sources and cannot be made public.

This situation has sparked more debate about China’s influence in the U.S. electric vehicle market. A recent law change now excludes certain EVs, including the Mustang Mach-E, from a significant tax incentive, pushing for less reliance on Chinese parts and more on U.S. manufacturing.

Moreover, U.S. officials have been asked to check if one of the Chinese IT firms working with the Michigan plant is avoiding U.S. sanctions. There’s concern over Ford’s use of a data service possibly connected to sanction evasion activities by North Korea.

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The Treasury has expressed its ongoing effort against North Korea’s illegal money-making schemes. Ford maintains that it fully owns and controls the battery facility.

Ford’s initial investment plan of $3.5 billion for the Michigan factory has been scaled down to around $2 billion. The facility will focus on producing batteries that could lower the cost and improve the performance and longevity of electric cars.

In November, there was also discussion on the fairness of U.S. tariffs on Chinese imports, contrasting with Europe’s efforts to limit Chinese EV imports. China has criticized the U.S. for its battery restrictions, claiming they break international trade rules.

Safety concerns and espionage

Leon Panetta, a former CIA Director and Defense Secretary, warned Congress that the Michigan EV battery plant could be at risk of being used by China for espionage.

During a committee hearing focused on the Chinese Communist Party’s support for U.S. adversaries, Panetta confirmed the potential security risks of the plant, which is linked to Gotion High-Tech, a company originating from Hefei, China.

“I don’t think there’s any question that they’re going to take advantage of that situation,” Panetta said as reported by Fox News. “And I think we have to be very vigilant about what the hell is going on. That’s just the way they operate. They’ll establish a manufacturing unit, they’ll establish whatever they can, and then they will use that for their own intelligence purposes. They will use that for their own economic purposes.”

“They’ll use it to be able to gain the kind of advantages that are counter, frankly, to the interests of the United States,” he continued. “I think it is very important in those situations to make sure that the United States, and that our intelligence capabilities, are being used to make sure that we know what they are doing that could hurt the United States.”

Mike Pompeo against Michigan plant construction

Alongside Panetta, Mike Pompeo, who has served as both CIA Director and Secretary of State, also gave testimony at the hearing. He argued that the plant in Michigan poses a threat to national security and should not be constructed.

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“I think it is worse than the fact that they will engage in espionage. I think that’s just top of the list,” Pompeo told the panel. “They will use this in ways that will leverage Chinese advantage. These plants are deeply dangerous to our national security and ought not be built.”

William Hath
William Hath
William, reporting for US News Hub from Washington DC, specializes in federal government accountability and transparency. His investigative efforts to unveil the inner workings of government operations and his dedication to challenging authority align with our goal of delivering in-depth and reliable news to our readers.

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